As I entered the Emagine Theater located in Novi, MI, I wasn’t prepared to experience a visual and musical presentation that would change my attitude and outlook on my life going forward. This experience consisted of watching the short film created by R&B artist, Khalid, called Free Spirit and listening to his newest album titled Free Spirit that played afterwards. With that being said, I would like to comment on the experience as a whole.
As the visual presentation began, the lights dimmed and the screen primarily showed Khalid himself giving an introduction to his show. He welcomed the fans that had attended the event and thanked us all for coming to experience the short film he had made. Ultimately, his comforting presence was consistent throughout the presentation and I felt glad that he was taking the time to connect with the audience in this way.
Shortly after this introduction, the short film, Free Spirit, began. It opened up with a montage of scenes depicting the vast desert-like countryside of an unsaid Southern state, the calm, small-town essence of a neighborhood on the outskirts of a big city, a high school gym with senior prom decorations, and the teenage hangout places of modern suburbia. Meanwhile, one of the songs from his album played in the background, fitting the nostalgic, emotional, and free-spirited essence of the montage perfectly. The film was constructed around these scenes and told the story of a group of teenagers who were on the brink of seizing the freedoms of true adulthood.
The story mainly follows a girl who goes by Ladybug and who joins her group of friends on a road trip after being kicked out of her intoxicated mother’s house. All the while, the group emulates the essence of teenage freedom: feeling the open air while standing outside the sunroof of the van that they stole, drinking alcohol and smoking weed, and proving themselves unstoppable against the world. Eventually, things begin to fall apart as apparent romances between some of the friends divide the group completely, and the film ends with a devastating consequence for one of the friends as a result. The ended proved to be my favorite part of the film because of how emotional it was and how unresolved it was. I believe it portrayed the struggle that young adults have to find themselves and to make it in this world as adults, and how it seems that we will constantly struggle to find ourselves completely even as we get older.
After the short film ended, Khalid played his new album, Free Spirit, before its worldwide release with visuals and commentary accompanying it. Overall, I really enjoyed this experience and felt that visuals accompanied by the music allowed me to enjoy the meaning behind the music in a better way. Ultimately, I very much appreciated how this short film portrayed the lives of young individuals. As the film showed, anyone from any background essentially experiences the same struggles as a young adult and I felt that it validated the truth about how youthful questioning exploration doesn’t quite end with our childhood.